President Trump’s pick to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), withdrew his name from consideration on Oct. 17 amid reports that legislation he sponsored hindered the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in its fight against the U.S. opioid crisis. The legislation in question, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, changed the standard for identifying dangers to local communities, weakening the DEA’s authority to go after drug companies that didn’t report suspicious, and often very large, orders for narcotics. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has cosponsored legislation that would repeal the changes made by the 2016 law.
The collapse of the nomination underscores the current Administration’s lack of progress in formulating a response to the national epidemic, with the announcement coming just days before the White House was scheduled to unveil a new strategy. Further, Marino's withdrawal leaves the Trump administration without nominees for several important domestic roles, including drug czar, the Director of the DEA, and Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD will continue to watch the Administration’s efforts to curb opioid abuse as well as seek ways to engage policy makers on policy proposals that discourage misuse, without undermining patient care.